A longtime Hernando County educator has retired.

Sue Stoops spent 35 years in the district before leaving her post as principal at Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics before the holiday break. She is the first and only principal the school has had.

A University of Florida grad and unabashed Gators fan, Stoops, 66, started teaching in Hernando County in 1968 before taking time away to focus on her children. She returned in 1986 as the district's coordinator of health and drug education.

Stoops spent about 10 years as principal at Brooksville Elementary School before leaving in 2005 to open Challenger, the district's first K-8 school.

Her plan now is to spend more time with her grandchildren.